ATLANTA – Written by Mel
There is something about making a pot of coffee that makes you feel like you own your own place. Whether you live in a house, apartment or condo, making a pot of coffee is like declaring your space. Unless, of course, you don’t drink coffee. In that case, I may do a future home hack post for tea, water, red bull, or juice drinkers. But for now, I’m addressing my fellow coffee drinkers.
A virtual show of hands – who really knows how to make coffee? It seems to me that those who know how to make it have the Midas touch because they can just eyeball the right amount of coffee and water to add to the coffeepot. A little of this and a little of that and BAM! – they have made the perfect pot of coffee. When it comes to making coffee, I put a little of this and that together and it either tastes like diluted water or cigarette ashes. Ugh!
I’m the only coffee drinker in my house, so I hate to waste coffee. Some of you may be thinking, “why don’t you just buy a Keurig and be done with it?” Honestly, Keurig can get the job done for me when I am on the go at the doctor’s office or the bank and I’m feigning for coffee, but something about the flavor of Keurig-brewed coffee doesn’t do it for me. I don’t know if it’s because the places that I get the coffee from don’t clean the brewer enough or at all, but it just doesn’t hit the spot for me like coffee brewed in a coffee pot.
Keep in mind that my favorite places to buy coffee are Dunkin’ Donuts, Waffle House, or IHOP and this may be because they brew their coffee on traditional coffee pots as opposed to large industrial machines. Or, it may be the coffee blend. But whatever the case may be, these places make some tasty coffee to me.
Anyway, since I’m the only one who drinks coffee, I went to the store to buy a teeny, tiny coffee maker for about $8 bucks. If you need multiple cups, then you may want to invest in a bigger one, but I’m a one-and-done type of gal. And like I said before, I hate wasting coffee because this is an expensive commodity.
This isn’t my first coffee pot. I have had a coffee pot in the past, but I had considered giving up coffee, so I got rid of my old one. Now, I own another one because I realize that I’m an addict and this is a weakness that calls me whether I want it to or not. I’m not necessarily addicted to the effects of coffee, however. I think it’s the ritual of making it every morning that makes me feel like a grown ass woman going off to work in the big wondrous world of the hustle and bustle or as some like to say “the daily grind.”
I noticed in the packaging for the coffee maker that instructions on making coffee aren’t really a big help. Coffee packaging isn’t a big help, either. So, I threw up both my hands and turned to the internet knowing full and well that someone has to be suffering from what I’m suffering from: lack of precise knowledge on how to make coffee. Nope. Just more information on coffee making that confuses the hell out of me.
So, I decided to come up with this hack because I’m sure there are others like me out there who just don’t understand all of this hullabaloo when it comes to making a cup of coffee. As I said before and I reiterate, I don’t have the Midas touch when it comes to making coffee, and though I consider myself a pretty decent cook, I just don’t know how to make freaking coffee!
So I started with simple items in my kitchen because I don’t know what the heck the lines on the coffee pot measure. I really think those are there for decoration and have no real purpose because when I use those lines as a guide, I either get the diluted water or cigarette ash tasting coffee that I mentioned earlier. So, I decided to use actual measuring tools. I grabbed my measuring cup, and I used the cup metric because “cups” makes more sense to me than fl ounces. Yeah, needless to say, I didn’t do well in biology or math classes when it came to measuring things.
Then, I whipped out a tablespoon measuring spoon because that’s what most instructions call for – and that’s the only part of packaging instructions that makes some sense to me.
I poured one cup of water into the measuring cup and dumped that into my favorite big coffee mug. That didn’t fill up the mug, so I added another 1/2 cup to the mug which filled the mug to the rim. I did this to make sure that the water that I was using was commensurate with the mug I intended to drink from. Since some water evaporates when brewing, I added that extra half cup to make sure that my one cup had some overflow.
I dumped the water from the mug back into the measuring cup which measured about 1 1/2 cup, and I poured this into the back of the coffee pot. (You can also pour this water directly from the mug into the coffee well if you like. I did it this way because I didn’t want to spill the water all over the place because my coffee mug doesn’t have a spout)
I usually buy Dunkin Donuts or Folgers coffee from the grocery store and in this case, I had some Folgers coffee handy. I like to buy medium brew because I feel like the other darker ones taste too strong for me. If you like stronger coffee, aim for the darker brews.
I then inserted a coffee filter and added the coffee in tablespoons. First, I tried 2 1/2 tablespoons, but that brew came out too watery. Then 3 1/2 table spoons and that brew came out too strong. So, I settled on three tablespoons for 1 1/2 cup of water ratio. This ratio seems to work for me. You may have to experiment a bit until you have it down to a science.
While the coffee was brewing, I prepared my mug. If you don’t use cream or sugar, you can skip this step but I use cream and sugar. One thing that a coworker taught me is to add the sugar and creamer to the cup first rather than the other way around because if you are like me, I get out of control with adding sugar and creamer. Also, when I add sugar and creamer after the fact, that packs on unnecessary pounds. So, to avoid weight gain, I use her method of adding the cream and sugar to the cup first.
Once the coffee is ready, I pour in the coffee and pay close attention to how much the coffee is blending with the cream and sugar, so I won’t have to add more cream and sugar.
And that’s that. One cup of coffee down to a science. What are some of your tips and techniques for making the perfect pot or cup of coffee?
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Photos courtesy of Mel.